I wake up and step out of bed. Careful to not tread on any bodies as I travel to the hotel window, I take a moment to peer over Dearborn, Michigan from the 10th floor. These are not the sights I came here for, however.
I put on my new navy blue sweater, The Big House logo across the back's top, Sunshine, the name I'm known by in this world, across the bottom. Armed with my controller in one hand, and the competitor pass around my neck, I leave my quarters and make for the ballroom.
The ballroom expanded the length of a football field; four TVs sat on a stage expanding the middle half, while around 50 sat around tables on each end. I make my way to one of these clusters.
Despite the projected outcomes of the tournament expecting me to be eliminated immediately in this tougher competition, I managed to claw my way to a placement in the top third of attendees. While this placing is nothing to brag about, I am quite content with my own improvements. I take note of my mistakes and spend the rest of the weekend as a carefree spectator.
Being a part of this community for over three years, I have cultivated a handful of friendships. I spent the rest of my weekend creating new bonds and strengthening old ones. I was fortunate enough to meet a young group new to the scene. In this group, a couple was approaching their one-year anniversary. As a surprise present, I spent my Saturday afternoon pointing out and approaching top players to sign a poster for a lucky unsuspecting boyfriend.
Outside of this group, I was able to spend a lot of time with my fellow Ontario players. We are a passionate group, with our throats completely ruined after the first day. This did not stop us, however, and we powered through as one of the loudest regions for the whole weekend. A few community figureheads love this aspect of Ontario's scene, and for the event's finals, we were all snuck up to the front and had a great floor spot in front of the stage.
Overall, this event proved to be the hands-down greatest experience in my smash career. As an outsider, it may be interesting to hear that the best part of a video game tournament is not the video game itself, but it is the people that make up the tournaments that truly prove to be the shining gem. I strongly recommend anyone take a weekend to attend a major Melee tournament, even without personal experience of the game itself, just to meet the wonderful people involved.
Nick Gibbins is a writer, competitive gamer, and resident big mouth. He tends to prefer acting on impulse and writing the aftermath over observing how things play out on their own. Currently in his second year in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program, Nick plans to mesh all of his hobbies together to pay the bills.